Longyan is a small city by Chinese standards (about 2.5 million) in rural Fujian. Most visitors end up here passing through to see the Hakka earth houses in Yongding County. Tourist infrastructure is minimal, and there are no large tour buses. Do not expect any English to be spoken.
The train and bus stations are about 1km apart.
Longyan has rail connections to
- Ganzhou takes 4.5 hours, train number N520.
- Sometimes the Ganzhou train continues on to Shanghai, passing Hangzhou takes 16 hours, train number K470.
Longyan is well connected and most cities in Fujian including Xiamen and Fuzhou can be reached from here. The bus station is on Ren Min Dong Road and tickets can be brought at the adjoining ticket office. From Xiamen, there are numerous buses that depart in the early afternoon, however the last return bus departs at 12:30. Buses can drop passengers off at villages or tulous along the way.
While there are very rare taxis and motorbikes, they're very irregular, and a traveler would do best to arrange their transportation for the day before starting out. Any lodging should be able to arrange a taxi, additionally there are local travel agencies near the entrance to Hukeng Village.
The language most commonly used in day to day life is Hakka and Nanminyu, many people will be able to speak some amount of Mandarin but their accents and listening comprehension are generally very rough. There are very few English speakers.
The best-known tourist attraction in the area are the earth houses（土楼 tǔlóu), often round, of the Hakka people (客家人; kèjiārén). These houses are on to the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Hakka means "guest"; they arrived in the area (western Fujian and Eastern Guangdong) as refugees from one of Northern China's wars several hundred years ago and still have their own dialect and customs. These houses are quite large, holding an extended family, and built to be easily defended. There are none in the city itself, but there are thousands in villages to the West. Hotels can arrange a car or van to visit these places.
There are a large number of beautiful villages in the area that are worth exploring - a hotel or a private taxi driver (200-300 kuai/day) should be able to suggest an itinerary. There's a particularly large grouping in the village of Hukeng, to the West of Longyan - entrance fee is 40 kuai. Across the street from the entrance are businesses which can arrange small private tours, don't expect any English to be spoken.
Longyan's city center in itself is small, but has many places where designer brand and mobile phones etc can be bought. There is also the wholesale district of Jiaoyi Cheng which sells everything from shoes and tea to electronics at wholesale prices. Jiaoyi Cheng can be reached by catching the No.10,No.12 and No.19 buses.
With few exceptions, there are no formal restaurants in the area. Hotels or private lodging will be able to offer food, and there are country-restaurants where you can select whichever meats and vegetables look good and they'll stir-fry them in a large amount of oil. Expect to pay around ¥20/meal.
There is a number of tea farms in the area, and Fujian is well known for its Oolong tea, and to a lesser extent its Iron Guanyin Tea (铁观音茶）. Fujian has what might be called a tea-ceremony, where water is poured into a pot full of tea leaves, immediately poured into another pot, and then poured into thimble-sized tea glasses. It's likely any restaurants, lodging, or private residence you enter, will offer you this style of tea. The tea itself varies wildly in both quality and price.
Additionally, many private residences will have a large jug of baijiu, with Chinese medicinals steeped inside.
Most soft drinks and especially beer will be served room-temperature.
There are hotels in Longyan and the nearby city of Yongding. There is a number of cheap hotels just opposite the train station, any of the buildings with red or blue signs on top. Price ¥40-60 for a double.
- Hakka Tulou. In Yongding County, just south-east of Longyan, are amazing earth structures where a number of residences are built inside a single fortified compound.